Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Not even one of us can fully understand nor scarcely appreciate Mary’s plight . . .
And consider Joseph’s . . .

(Rest in Peace, Donna Summer.  I’m glad we still have your amazing voice.)

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Peperamico.

 

Please read to the bottom:


Breath of Heaven
Amy Grant

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done

*Holy father you have come

And chosen me now to carry Your son

*I am waiting in a silent prayer

I am frightened by the load I bear

*In a world as cold as stone

Must I walk this path alone?

*Be with me now


Be with me now

*Breath of heaven

Hold me together

Be forever near me

Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven

*Lighten my darkness

Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy

Breath of heaven
Do you wonder as you watch my face

*If a wiser one should have had my place


But I offer all I am

For the mercy of your plan

*Help me be strong

Help me be
Help me

Breath of heaven

Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
~ ~ ~

.  .  . Have you ever found yourself saying these same words –
the ones I highlighted?

I have.

Yes, I have been chosen to “carry The Son”.
I feel completely unworthy.

The thought of bearing that precious burden is daunting-
sometimes frightening.
Yet the Archangel, himself, said, “Don’t be afraid”.Yes, the world is cold as stone,
and the path, often difficult,
but I don’t have to walk it alone-
never alone.
The Lord is with me.

*Breath of heaven
Hold me together-
My desperate plea –
He hears, and holds me up.

He lightens my darkness,
and if that were not enough,
He pours His holiness over me,
and His grace,
and His mercy.

I am not wise, but He chose me,
somehow.
He chose me and He helps me.

Breath of Heaven is always there,
softly taking me in,
gently sending me out . . .

Amy Grant, how did you know?

~ ~ ~

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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Your Daughter, My Mother

After the church service and worship I am celebrating my mother,
but early this morning I was a little melancholy as you will see:

 

Your Daughter, My Mother

Dear Heavenly “Grand”-Father,
Many years ago; more than twenty-two,
You made Mom a place to live
When she went away
To live with You.

Would You go there today,
Right up to her house,
And give her, for me,
A nice new dress, a flowery skirt,
A pretty blouse?

Would You give her
Nice-looking sandals,
Some beautiful shoes?
Oh Grandpa, today I’m getting the blues . . .

Please tell her I miss her.
We are too far apart.
All the time and the distance,
She’s still in my heart.

Would You put a sparkling
Crown on her head?
Or just hold her hand?
Would You give her, today,
A big Daddy-hug?
The warmest kind as only You can?

And tell her that her prayers for me
Were answered by You,
And are being still,
To this very day.

Tell her I’m finally free.
I’m on Jesus’ path,
I’m following Your Way.
Maybe not all that she hoped and she prayed just yet,
But much closer, Grand-Daddy,
Much closer this day.

Today, she just seems much too far away . . .
So thank her for me.
It’s heavy to bear,
That it’s Mothers Day here and she’s way up there.

But tell her I will soon see her, perhaps!
Until then, maybe give her a dance.
Will you give her a flower?
Lord, give her a laugh?

Tell her that I can hardly wait.
I’ll see her at the garden gate
When I finally come.
The one on the west,
When I have my rest.

Meantime, Grandpa,
Please give her my best,
’til I come.
Your best too, ’cause we love her.
And just because she’s Your daughter;
Just because she’s my mom!


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Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Not even one of us can fully understand nor appreciate Mary’s plight . . .

(Rest in Peace, Donna Summer.  We still have your amazing voice.)

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Peperamico.

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Not even one of us can fully understand nor appreciate Mary’s plight . . .

(Rest in Peace, Donna Summer.  We still have your amazing voice.)

These poignant video clips are from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Peperamico.

Merry Christmas from Gloryteller.com
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Video

Witnessing A Shark Attack

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Along with millions of other people,
I saw a shark try to attack a surfer on a live television broadcast.

It was so much like life, so much a metaphor for this worldly existence:

From my vantage point, I can see the stealthy
approach of the spiritual enemy when the victim cannot.

I feel the escalating danger of the situation.
I watch in dismay as the predator circles,
quickly judging the unsuspecting prey and planning its attack.
sizing him up,
figuring him out,
taking his measure,
(the English language is so full of idioms like those)

It all happens very quickly. IT has done this countless times before,
with countless victims.
I’m tempted to say it is “second nature”, but it is not;
it is the assailant’s primary nature, to kill and destroy,
That is ITs base and core nature.
I watch ITs final turn and am outraged at the savagery of ITs lunge.
I feel helpless.
I want to shout a warning.
I want to give him eyes to see the beast.
I want to somehow jump into the space between him and the killer.
I want to arm him and give him ammunition.

I want to pull him out of the scene –
somehow snatch him away from imminent death.
What I end up doing is saying a hasty prayer.

In the real-life television story,
the surfer punched the shark and escaped shaken but unharmed.
Psychologically damaged, maybe –
he said he might not ever go into the ocean again.

But in real, real-life, the victim never escapes the wiles
of the spiritual enemy through their own power,

their own intellect,
their own knowledge,
their own skill,
nor their own efforts.
They always must be saved from the predatory beast.

What can I do to save them?
Nothing.
I can only tell them about the enemy of their soul and spirit,
about ITs nature, and tactics,
and strategy of deception.
I can illustrate how their imminent destruction will take place.
I can point to the danger, and shout warning;
try to give them eyes to see the hideous beast.
I can try to arm them with the truth about IT.
I can stand in the gap in front of them in prayer,
which is more useful,
but most useful of all, I can tell them of the one who can save them –
the only one.
He is the one who can do all of the above,
all that no-one else can do –
effortlessly.
He has defeated death and defeated IT – the enemy –
for all who believe in Him.
All.
That includes you, dear reader, if you desire it.

It is His nature. He has done it countless times.
I know, because He did it all for me when I first believed;
when I just believed Him!

So, all I can do is pray that they find Him,
and I can plant the seeds of His truth
and of His love for them.

If He could save me from the stealthy,
deceptive,
fatal attacks

of that bestial,
predatory,
killer of my soul,

He. Can. Save. Anybody!

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Seeking Grief Relief . . .

A Stream of Consciousness Outpouring . . .

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Today, I have a heavy heart.
I have an aching heart.
I have a broken heart.

It is so heavy that it has sunk toward the bottom –

away from where it should be and down where it should never be.
Its usual buoyancy has succumbed to the weight of the world.

Another young friend has suddenly and unexpectedly gone to be with God.

On one hand, I realize that the passing of a believer,
no matter how young, should, in a sense, be cause for sweet rejoicing,
but, on the other hand, at this moment it only tastes of bitter loss.
My mind is grappling with my heart.
My heart and mind are at war with each other.
I realize that no-one is guaranteed even one more heartbeat,

but distress is becoming dismay,
off and on, I’ve shed tears all day.

Empathy can be a painful and sore.
Compassion for close ones hurts to the core.

First Rachel . . . and now James . . .

Another who was “bigger than life”,
who had a unique zest for life.
Who was well-loved, and who was full of love himself.

A close friend of my son,
He was only twenty one,

A large portion of our community is reeling.
I can’t help but think that this would be exponentially harder
If that were my own son . . .
The one thing that’s worse than being reminded of one’s own mortality
is being reminded of that of one’s children.

And now I’m conflicted.
My head rejoices for his soul, for him – he knew the Lord.
He is communing with Father God and Jesus,
but my heart grieves for all the reasons it does,
and all the reasons it should,
when a young adult has lost his chance to have a full life;
A life in the world, for that’s where I am!

I have to write these feelings out of me,
but I seem to be stuck.
Frustrated.
Annoyed.
Wounded.
Drifting.
How do I organize a piece such as this?
I don’t.
Won’t.
I refuse.
It has to be spontaneous.

A small part of me wants to rail at God,

but I have this thing called faith in Him.
It’s not His fault; He loves James.
I imagine James talking with Jesus at this moment.
I envision Father God taking a picture of Jesus sitting on His throne.
James is popping up behind Him and getting in the photo by surprise,
with his big smile,
with a wink,
and a “thumbs up”.
I believe that is called “photobombing”, or something like that.
Delightfully classic James . . .
I picture Father and Jesus getting a big, warm, hearty
laugh with James. I’m most certain they are very fond of him.

But here’s the thing:
I don’t understand.
(why do I always have to understand?)
Why does the Bible say we can pray and, essentially,
get the desires of our hearts?
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of prayers went up for James
when we heard that he had been severely injured in an auto accident.
Our request was for healing, restoration, and life,
none of which was granted. (as far as we know)
My head says he got his promised eternal life,
for James was a believer and follower of Christ from a young age.
Eternal life in Heaven is the ultimate answer to our prayers,
but we also prayed for the miracle of physical
restoration and that did not happen.
“Your will be done”, we say.
So why bother to pray? (another rhetorical question)
Because He told us to!
Praying must have some affect that we don’t entirely understand –
something great for the prayed-for,
for God, or possibly Jesus, or for the pray-er.
I’m rambling, I know . . .

Jesus said we would be able to do what The Father
enabled Him to do, and even more, including healing, casting out demons,
and even restoring life,
but I don’t seem to be able to do those things

and I would like to know why. (Why do I always question?)
I think He wants me to ask questions, though, for that’s the way I learn.
I do want to learn all I can know about Him.
Moreover, I want to know Him.

I do want to know things;
things most likely beyond my understanding,
and which are perhaps none of my business,
but I pray to know anyway.

However, even in my grief over James, over his family’s heartache,
and over my son’s dismay at the loss of a great friend,
I remain steadfast in my faith.

I would like to know if you, dear reader, have ever felt these things.
If so, I’m comforted to know I’m not by myself in this.
I’m also comforted to know that, by reading this, perhaps
you don’t feel so alone yourself.

I refuse to let these frustrations, these questions, lead me away from
Love and into doubt – or worse even into apostasy.

It was uplifting that one of the Facebook quotes I had written about James
was used by the pastor in the service.
It is a joy that God uses me to help others.

Writing is cathartic, therapeutic, and even healing for me.
Writing is escape, refuge, and security.
Reading is no less.
If you have persevered and gotten this far, please pardon me, dear reader,
for using this forum for my own outpouring, my vent, my relief.

I must remember my “ministry of groaning” in a time like this.
The wordless groaning, (a sort of low, quiet wailing from my soul)
which comes out of the depths of my spirit and manifests itself
even through my voice. (if there is loud music in the background for cover,
the sound of it is all the louder)
When I have run out of tears and words to utter, it seems to help.
God actually put that principle into my spirit one day
when I was desperately praying for another grieving friend.
I told Him I had run out of tears and out of words to say.
“Groan for him, He said quite clearly.
This “gift” is so personal it is difficult to write about here . . .

Grief is spilling out of my heart, trying to drag the resident joy out with it,
but I must not let it succeed, Lord, don’t let it succeed,
for the joy of knowing You is my only salvation in times of crisis like these . . .

~  ~  ~

It has been two weeks, to the day, since I wrote the above.
In that time, I have written much, but not trusted myself to post.
I did not want my own self-centered disillusionment to
take away from the glory of my Lord.

Finally, two mornings ago, the long awaited,
long suppressed,
authentic,
spontaneous, groan came to me.
For myself,
and for others through me.
It can’t “work well” if it is forced.
It has to come with The Lord’s help,

and with His timing.
Without notice, it began in my toes ,
worked its way up through the marrow of my legs,
spread through my core, ever upward,
filling me,
and out through my throat,
expressing wordlessly the pent ache.
Sometimes the groan only comes forth from my heart.
This time, through my voice.
Crying to The Most High Lord more eloquently
than my words could have done.
Groaning for the bereaved family, for the city, for my son,
and for myself.
Sweet sympathy,
concentrated compassion,
the messy turmoil of groaning
bringing order at last.
At last.

All that is left is to somehow turn this piece so that it points
to the  great glory of God.
To give God greater glory should always be my primary concern
when I write. His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

I think it is best, at this point, to use His own words instead of mine:

Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

2Thessalonians 2:16-17
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”

AMEN

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It’s Hopeless. Your Best Is Not Good Enough . . .

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You’ve done your best.
You know you have.
Yet, you have fallen short of  your goal.
The mark set by others, or by you, yourself, seems out of reach.
The enemy of your soul will use that against you.
That enemy will try to tell you that
your best effort is not good enough
because he wants to produce anxiety, and anger,

and self doubt, and hopelessness in you,
which will serve his destructive purposes.
God, however, will restore your confidence, and your peace, and your hope.
With God, your best effort is always good enough. 
Not only that, but He can respond to requests for help
by making your best even better.
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Thankful For A Grateful Heart

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Ten thousand million billion moments
With which my life is filled.
Each one shorter than a second,
Less; even shorter still.
Each one begins, and each one ends,
But is not taken away.
And each one has no meaning, then,
At the end of the average day.
Meaningless moments, but for Christ,
Who redeemed them all for me,
Tied them all together,
Made them all to be.
A whole life – a life that begins and ends,
But is not taken away.
As if that were not enough,
He also gave me words to say
A prayer of thanks for a grateful heart,
The gift of which is precious.
A heart to embrace the building joy
Of gratitude for Him, so gracious.
So, I give heartfelt thanks
For the moments,
For the life,
For redemption,
For Christ,
For the gift of a grateful heart,
And for more,
Much more,
I thank You;
Thank You, Lord!


Happy Giving of the Thanks today!

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Joy-Flower

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As he entered the dimly lit room, Yao Lin-On carried the capsule he had made like it was a knife . “This will end my daughter’s suffering,” was his only thought as he approached her bed. He had witnessed the terminal suffering of one of his nieces from the same slowly-disabling, flesh-wasting illness, several years in the past. Those horribly painful images had never left his memory, and he was determined not to let his precious Le-Lan walk the same agonizing path. He wept once again as he looked at her small, sleeping form. “At least she seems to have no pain when she is in deep sleep, but when she wakes, the medication is terribly insufficient . . . How can I let this continue, God? I, the one she has trusted, the one who brought her to this new country, to these new beliefs, to this new Father God and Jesus. I, who daily shared Biblical teachings with her, and worked to make sure that she understood Your Word. I, the one who cared for her after the loss of her mother. I, who love her dearly. I, the only one left to do what, it seems, You, God, won’t do. Yes, I have pleaded in my prayers, I have begged, I have asked politely, I have screamed, I have enjoined and bargained. All to no benefit for Le-Lan. Where is her healing? Where are the promises? Where, at the least, is merciful death? It must be that, now, at the end of my sanity, it is left to me to condemn myself to hell for her sake. Is that what You want? I retain my faith in You! Why are You leaving the task to me, Lord?”

He sat in the hard wooden chair next to the unconscious girl’s bed, laid the large, white capsule on the nightstand next to her teacup, and took her hand gently, as not to wake her. Her fingertips were black. He moaned aloud as he looked at her once-beautiful head of hair, now in ragged patches, at her missing teeth, where her room-brightening smile had been. “I cannot let her suffering be. I can’t let my little Joy-Flower wither away in pain. In a moment, little one, in just a few more moments, My Joy, I will wake you and give you your tea. So hard, this seat, so heavy my arms, so achingly tired.”

He felt her hand stir, her patchy breathing quickening. “Papa? I’m glad. . . , I’m glad you are here,” she whispered in English, the difficult language that, together, they had worked so hard to learn.
“Yes, I’m always here for you, sweet child. Be still, everything is, what is the word? . . . Okay.”
“Papa, lean closer . . . . please listen even if this is hard to understand. I’ve been talking to Jesus. He has been with me all through my illness. When it hurts so bad, Papa, He puts His cool hand on my head. He holds my hand while you hold the other. Papa, He sings to me while you cry. He tells me that you might lose your faith in Him because of me. Oh, Papa! I don’t want that! You must trust Him. Remember all the amazing things we learned about Him? They are all true, Papa!”
“I know they are, sweetheart, shhhh, don’t tire yourself.” He looked away and thought, “Maybe they are true, but He still has some things to answer for . . .”

“Papa . . . . . . . . .” she paused, “I know what you want to do tonight . . . “
Yao Lin-On’s body jumped, startled, rattling the hard chair.
“There is nothing I can do to stop you, but I want you to change your mind. Poppy please, don’t do it. If you love me, don’t.”
He stared at her face. “How could she know?” He was angry. “You know nothing of it,” he wanted to say.
“Poppy, listen,” she whispered faintly, but urgently, “If you do this thing that you think will help me, you will tear us apart forever. You will condemn yourself. If you do it, we will be apart forever. Poppy, it would break my heart if Mama and I were without you. We love you so much, and so do Jesus and the Father.” Please don’t, Poppy, please.”
“Poppy” was her most loving name for him. Mountain brooks of tears ran down his face.

“We do love you, Yao Lin-On, father of our delightful Le-Lan. We share your concern for her. We are also very concerned for you. We hear your prayers for healing and for a miracle. What you don’t realize is that what you keep praying for, We have already done. Le-Lan’s body lingers in your world, but her LIFE has been with Us since the moment she believed in her Savior. She hangs on because her story is not finished, mostly where you are concerned, but also with others who are watching her. Have you not noticed that through all her trials, she never once lost faith? Haven’t you seen that she always proclaims Our kingdom with her body and her spirit, no matter how hard her path? Through your own diligence, she had teachers who understood that in order to awaken to a new life, a person has to die in the old one. Le-Lan knew that she had to die to her self, in order to live in Christ Jesus on earth, and she knows that soon she must sleep the last sleep, which you call death, in order to live in Heaven with Us. She will follow her own path into that sleep, her last thought on earth will be of Us, and she will awaken fully alive in Our arms. Your part is to wait and watch over her sleep. Only wait and keep faith until your own last thought, in your own last sleep. We hope that last thought is only of Us, and that you will follow beautiful Le-Lan into Our waiting arms.

Yao Lin-On looked at the sleeping Le-Lan as he came back to himself. “Was it a dream? A miracle? An inner conversation with himself?” He thought and thought as he stared at the euthanasia capsule for a long while, shuddered, took it away, and flushed it down the toilet. Returning to Le-Lan, he found that she was breathing steadily and beginning to awaken. With emotions boiling over, he took her frail body into his arms.
“I brought you some tea, Joy-Flower, can you drink some? Do you feel a little better, this morning?”
“No, Papa, I . . . feel  . . . worse . . . today. My . . . stomach hurts . . . so bad.”
He bit his own lip hard to drive back the tears.
“But . . . I sure do love you, Poppy,” she whispered slowly and softly into his ear.
“I love you right back, my Joy-Flower.”
He had a sense of calm peace, then, and, for far too many days, he knew that those were the last words he would hear on earth from Le-Lan. She, at last, slept her final sleep. Yet, he was confident in proclaiming that those were the first words he would hear from her in Heaven. It shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did, how many others were amazed, and changed, after watching the pain, and the faith, of the man of God, Yao Lin-On, and his beautiful daughter of God, Yao Le-Lan, Joy-Flower.

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About the making of Joy-Flower

One of my writer friends commented:
“Absolutely beautiful. How did you come up with this storyline?”
My reply was this:
 “It’s difficult to explain God’s involvement, participation, and presence in the creation of this story, but I’ll try. One morning I awoke (or did I?) and it was in my heart to write about the subject of a man being angry at God for what he perceived were broken promises and unanswered prayers. Then I “heard” Him say the name of the protagonist. I was a little surprised, and had the audacity to question, “Why the Asian name? What do I know of this?” I soon began to lay out the story and He filled in my blanks. It even took an unexpected turn into another unexpected, complex subject. It was all done in one “take”. I’m confident that Joy-Flower has a purpose far beyond what I can imagine, and that one day He will tell me the whole story behind it; the rest of the story of  its future. Thank you so much for reading it, J.! Your question made me think about it, which stretched my pen further than I thought it could go. I needed that!”

So, if I were pressed to describe writing, from my perspective it seems to be the expression of the inexpressible, using combinations of words that have not been combined before, with the nearly incomprehensible involvement of our nearly unfathomable God.
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Joy-Flower
Copyright by Gloryteller, Len Snider, 11-4-2014
All rights reserved
The names of the two main human characters are fictitious.

 

 

 

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Joy-Flower

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As he entered the dimly lit room, Yao Lin-On carried the capsule he had made like it was a knife . “This will end my daughter’s suffering,” was his only thought as he approached her bed. He had witnessed the terminal suffering of one of his nieces from the same slowly-disabling, flesh-wasting illness, several years in the past. Those horribly painful images had never left his memory, and he was determined not to let his precious Le-Lan walk the same agonizing path. He wept once again as he looked at her small, sleeping form. “At least she seems to have no pain when she is in deep sleep, but when she wakes, the medication is terribly insufficient . . . How can I let this continue, God? I, the one she has trusted, the one who brought her to this new country, to these new beliefs, to this new Father God and Jesus. I, who daily shared Biblical teachings with her, and worked to make sure that she understood Your Word. I, the one who cared for her after the loss of her mother. I, who love her dearly. I, the only one left to do what, it seems, You, God, won’t do. Yes, I have pleaded in my prayers, I have begged, I have asked politely, I have screamed, I have enjoined and bargained. All to no benefit for Le-Lan. Where is her healing? Where are the promises? Where, at the least, is merciful death? It must be that, now, at the end of my sanity, it is left to me to condemn myself to hell for her sake. Is that what You want? I retain my faith in You! Why are You leaving the task to me, Lord?”

He sat in the hard wooden chair next to the unconscious girl’s bed, laid the large, white capsule on the nightstand next to her teacup, and took her hand gently, as not to wake her. Her fingertips were black. He moaned aloud as he looked at her once-beautiful head of hair, now in ragged patches, at her missing teeth, where her room-brightening smile had been. “I cannot let her suffering be. I can’t let my little Joy-Flower wither away in pain. In a moment, little one, in just a few more moments, My Joy, I will wake you and give you your tea. So hard, this seat, so heavy my arms, so achingly tired.”

He felt her hand stir, her patchy breathing quickening. “Papa? I’m glad. . . , I’m glad you are here,” she whispered in English, the difficult language that, together, they had worked so hard to learn.
“Yes, I’m always here for you, sweet child. Be still, everything is, what is the word? . . . Okay.”
“Papa, lean closer . . . . please listen even if this is hard to understand. I’ve been talking to Jesus. He has been with me all through my illness. When it hurts so bad, Papa, He puts His cool hand on my head. He holds my hand while you hold the other. Papa, He sings to me while you cry. He tells me that you might lose your faith in Him because of me. Oh, Papa! I don’t want that! You must trust Him. Remember all the amazing things we learned about Him? They are all true, Papa!”
“I know they are, sweetheart, shhhh, don’t tire yourself.” He looked away and thought, “Maybe they are true, but He still has some things to answer for . . .”

“Papa . . . . . . . . .” she paused, “I know what you want to do tonight . . . “
Yao Lin-On’s body jumped, startled, rattling the hard chair.
“There is nothing I can do to stop you, but I want you to change your mind. Poppy please, don’t do it. If you love me, don’t.”
He stared at her face. “How could she know?” He was angry. “You know nothing of it,” he wanted to say.
“Poppy, listen,” she whispered faintly, but urgently, “If you do this thing that you think will help me, you will tear us apart forever. You will condemn yourself. If you do it, we will be apart forever. Poppy, it would break my heart if Mama and I were without you. We love you so much, and so do Jesus and the Father.” Please don’t, Poppy, please.”
“Poppy” was her most loving name for him. Mountain brooks of tears ran down his face.

“We do love you, Yao Lin-On, father of our delightful Le-Lan. We share your concern for her. We are also very concerned for you. We hear your prayers for healing and for a miracle. What you don’t realize is that what you keep praying for, We have already done. Le-Lan’s body lingers in your world, but her LIFE has been with Us since the moment she believed in her Savior. She hangs on because her story is not finished, mostly where you are concerned, but also with others who are watching her. Have you not noticed that through all her trials, she never once lost faith? Haven’t you seen that she always proclaims Our kingdom with her body and her spirit, no matter how hard her path? Through your own diligence, she had teachers who understood that in order to awaken to a new life, a person has to die in the old one. Le-Lan knew that she had to die to her self, in order to live in Christ Jesus on earth, and she knows that soon she must sleep the last sleep, which you call death, in order to live in Heaven with Us. She will follow her own path into that sleep, her last thought on earth will be of Us, and she will awaken fully alive in Our arms. Your part is to wait and watch over her sleep. Only wait and keep faith until your own last thought, in your own last sleep. We hope that last thought is only of Us, and that you will follow beautiful Le-Lan into Our waiting arms.

Yao Lin-On looked at the sleeping Le-Lan as he came back to himself. “Was it a dream? A miracle? An inner conversation with himself?” He thought and thought as he stared at the euthanasia capsule for a long while, shuddered, took it away, and flushed it down the toilet. Returning to Le-Lan, he found that she was breathing steadily and beginning to awaken. With emotions boiling over, he took her frail body into his arms.
“I brought you some tea, Joy-Flower, can you drink some? Do you feel a little better, this morning?”
“No, Papa, I . . . feel  . . . worse . . . today. My . . . stomach hurts . . . so bad.”
He bit his own lip hard to drive back the tears.
“But . . . I sure do love you, Poppy,” she whispered slowly and softly into his ear.
“I love you right back, my Joy-Flower.”
He had a sense of calm peace, then, and, for far too many days, he knew that those were the last words he would hear on earth from Le-Lan. She, at last, slept her final sleep. Yet, he was confident in proclaiming that those were the first words he would hear from her in Heaven. It shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did, how many others were amazed, and changed, after watching the pain, and the faith, of the man of God, Yao Lin-On, and his beautiful daughter of God, Yao Le-Lan, Joy-Flower.

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Copyright by Gloryteller, Len Snider, 11-4-2014
All rights reserved
The names of the two main human characters are fictitious.

 

 

 

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Destructive Doubt, Rhetorical Questions, and Faith

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I feel an urgent need to write specifically about faith versus doubt.
At this moment, it is imperative,
crucial,
critical,
essential,
indispensable,
vitally important:
Someone is having doubts.
Someone is losing their faith in The Father.
Or never had any.
So many hard questions remain unanswered.
So many prayers unanswered,
or seemingly answered with a “no”.
So many promises seemingly not kept.
So much blame
to be unloaded,
and assigned.
So much heartbreak.
So much pain.
The internal debates wear one down,
sap our strength,
stress our beings,
abscond with our joy,
waste our lives.
Those kinds of troubles can alienate a person,
isolate,
Make one feel alone,
even in a crowd.
Make one feel like they are
the only one who has gone through so much,
who has had to bear this specific torture,
and you’re right,
No-one has had your exact experience.
But you’re wrong about being alone in it.
You are not alone,
never alone.

 I, myself, have had questions and doubts about
God’s existence,

His caring,
His promise keeping.
His love.
I, myself, have asked things like
“Why should I believe?”,
and, “What if it’s all a big hoax?”,
and, “Why don’t You seem to hear even my most
heartfelt,
earnest,
fervent,
prayers?”,
and, “Why do good people,
people who care,
and who act right,
and who are good to others,
people I love and care about,
die too soon,
while evil people,
people who only hate and hurt,
and murder,
people who detract from life,
and from Your glory,
people who I (forgive me) detest,
persist,
live on,
even thrive while doing more and more harm?”

I’ve had those, and countless more,
doubts and questions,
both before and after my rescue,
my lifesaving encounter,
with my Lord.

Now I know that I have an enemy who likes,
encourages,
abuses,
and twists,
my doubting and questioning,

who whispers about them in my secret ear,
to use them against my good,
and promote his own evil.
When I ask my doubting questions,
I hear his faint,
but clear,
insane laughter,
for doubts are like lies,
and he is the father of lies.

I smile inside myself when I realize that is happening,
because knowing is being forewarned,
 forewarned is forearmed,
and I’m armed with a powerful weapon.

I still have questions and I ask them,
but, doubts?
Doubts can do damage.
Doubts can threaten trust.
Doubts can mislead, deceive,
and obscure Truth,
runaway doubt can destroy.
Of course there is something I call
“healthy skepticism”,
discernment,
“useful doubt”,
but you have to understand the difference,
which I don’t want to address at this moment.

The thing is, my questions and destructive doubts
are different after knowing God than they were before.
Before, the enemy,
with my permission,
used them to try to destroy me.
Now I can try to use them for my good.
And yours.

A big obstacle to my faith is that I am, by nature, a
rational,

logical,
reasoning,
pragmatic
thinker.
“Stuff” has to make sense to me.
There has to be order.
There has to be a reason something is the way it is.
Therefore, science was once my god, in a sense,
instead of the real, true God whose works
we attempt to understand through science.

In other words, I lived only by sight and not by faith.
Now, I am predominantly the opposite.
Now I know r
ationality and logic
can get in the way of my spiritual thinking.
One can overthink one’s self into trouble.
One can complicate what is supposed to be simple
and veer far from the truth.

Now, I try not to “lean too much on my own meager understanding”.
I try to remember that there is a “great, huge, majestic picture”
that I can’t fathom
that I’m not allowed to know,
even if I did have the capacity to understand.
I’ve learned to recognize when I’m
stuck in circular questioning
or trapped in doubt.
I’ve come to realize that when I
doubt and question God, I’m making Him into the god
that I, myself, am creating rather than
the One who created me;
the “word” from my mind, rather than
the true Word,
the great I AM,
the One true, factual God of the Bible.

When I realize that I’m getting lost,
(It’s often not simple or easy)

I have to push the offending thoughts away,
with a mental, even a kind of physical stiff arm,

and get myself back on the trail to my destination:
home.

It’s simple; I have made my choice of faith in Him.
I will let nothing change that decision.
I simply cannot!
I know He is good, and kind, and cares about me.
I know that He keeps all His promises
in ways that would – and will – amaze us,
when we can fully understand.
I don’t want to lose my faith in Him,
nor my personal relationship
with Him.
It took too many years to get it.
I lived too long without it.
I can’t let anything or anyone steal it.
Without it, I’d be less than nothing;
I’d be lost in the worst sense of the word.
Here’s a question I have asked:
“If I were to turn my back on the Lord,
which of us would be harmed, or “hurt” more?”
My answer is, “I would be, infinitely so!”
His answer is that He would hurt greatly for me,
because of my choice, but He would wait with open arms
in hope that I would change my mind.

It boils down to this:
To be sure, we all have questions and doubts.
It’s a human thing.
It’s how we handle them that makes the difference.
Dwelling upon destructive doubt and rhetorical questions is a waste of time.
Our choice is between faith in Jesus and Father God, or the enemy . . .
there is no between, no middle ground, no compromise.
You might say “I choose myself”,
but that is the same as choosing the enemy, not God,
as your Lord and master.
So, please, choose life, choose love,
choose faith in Jesus, and
stick to it with all your might!

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I do have many other drafts waiting in the wings
that I want to finish and publish,

but this new theme was put on my heart with an “urgent” notice attached.
It seems like an emergency that needs immediate attention.
It is a form of sacrifice to be used this way,
yet it is a joy to serve.
I pray that this quickly gets to the readers who need it.
Reader, I care about what happens to you.
I’ve shared your struggles, believe me, maybe worse!
You have no idea what I’ve been through,
only God does,
therefore He is the “logical”
One I turn toward for support, and comfort.

I hope and pray that my words help you.
Sincerely,
L<

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A Re-run To Fill The Seeming Void – – – HIS PRAYER EXPANDED

~  ~  ~

I’ve not been forthcoming with new material, but I’ve been writing right along.
While I finish that work, here’s a re-run to mark time.
I assure you that new material is forthcoming,
assuming that I’m still working here in the physical “plain”
(or plane, if you’re literal and a discerning speller, that was an ordinary pun, haha)


^  ^  ^

My Father

Oh, my Father-God and my Lord, Who walks the vast halls of Heaven,
where You live, and breathe, and reign sovereign
over everything finite and eternal.
From where You speak.
From where You write Your Word.
From where You see all, know all, and do all.
From where You give Your unfathomable grace,
your mercy, and forgiveness.
From where You open Your hands and pour out goodness,
and from where You sent Your Love Incarnate, Immanuel.

Your name is Holy.
Let me kneel humbly, respectfully,
in reverence to Your glorious name.

May Your kingdom, Your realm, be established,
may Your kingship be proclaimed,
may everything You desire to happen
be done here on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.

I ask that You continue to provide all I need
in the form of wholesome food and water to nourish my body,
as well as Your Living Bread, and Your Living Water,
and understanding of Your Word, with personal revelation,
to nourish my soul.

I ask that You help me remember how You paid my debts
on the horrible cross of torture.
How You took my sin upon Yourself, Jesus.
How You gave Yourself in propitiating atonement, and in conciliation,
and appeasement, for my trespasses against You, Father-God.
Help me Lord to continue to learn to forgive others their debts against me,
their trespasses, wrongs, crimes, and sins against me,
just as You have so mercifully and graciously forgiven mine through Christ.

I ask You, Lord, to lead me away from the temptations of this world.
Help me keep your Word, Your principles, in obedience.
Lead me through the minefields, the snares, and the pitfalls,
for they are many, and my enemy shows me only the bait,
but hides the trap well.
Protect and deliver me from that devil, from that evil one, in Jesus name!

And finally, Almighty Father, I want to proclaim Your Kingdom.
It is the Kingdom of kingdoms, and You are the King of kings!

I proclaim that Your power is absolute.
It is the power that created Beautiful Creation in its entire completeness.
It is the power to create human beings in Your image;
human minds, souls, and hearts.
It is the awe-inspiring, miraculous power to change those hearts,
and save those souls.

And, I proclaim Your Glory, Lord.
How can I explain Your Glory?
It is too beautiful, too splendidly colorful, too exquisitely bright!
How can I illuminate it?
It blinds my eyes, baffles my mind, closes my mouth.
It is love unleashed, fervent, and intense.
It is Your inexplicable mercy, and grace, and kindness, and generosity.
It is as inexplicable as You, my God.
You’re glorious in Your Glory.
You ARE the Most High Lord,
Holiness Itself,
Ancient of Days,
The Great I AM.

Yes, Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,
for all time, and through unfathomable eternity.
You are my ABBA, my Heavenly Father-God
to Whom I pray this prayer, as You have instructed.
I ask these things and proclaim these things
in the love of Jesus’ most holy name.
Amen, and Amen.


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Oh Stay This Beastly Wind

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Oh Lord, stay these ghastly-vicious winds
which run raging from the frozen North in fierce packs,
surrounding my home,
clawing at my door,
pushing on my window glass,
prying in to drain my blood of warmth;
whose wraith-like howls
seethe and scream though
our already storm-torn trees;
whose teeth snap and bite at my face’s flesh,
and threaten to rend my very soul
if I but crack open my door.
Drive away the marauding horde,
Oh Lord, send them fleeing with a mighty shout,
away from my habitation and back to their own.
Or whisper them calm like You did before.
Amen

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Thankful for a Grateful Heart

* ^*^ *


Ten thousand million billion moments
With which my life is filled.
Each one shorter than a second,
Less; even shorter still.
Each one begins, and each one ends,
But is not taken away.
And each one has no meaning, then,
At the end of the average day.
Meaningless moments, but for Christ,
Who redeemed them all for me,
Tied them all together,
Made them all to be.
A whole life – a life that begins and ends,
But is not taken away.
As if that were not enough,
He also gave me words to say
A prayer of thanks for a grateful heart,
The gift of which is precious.
A heart to embrace the building joy
Of gratitude for Him, so gracious.
So, I give heartfelt thanks
For the moments,
For the life,
For redemption,
For Christ,
For the gift of a grateful heart,
And for more,
Much more,
I thank You;
Thank You, Lord!


Happy Giving of the Thanks today!

I Shared My Everything

^~^

^~ ~ ~^

With you

Not only some cash

Not only some time

Not  only my past

Nor pain

Not only my failure and success

My love

True, and again, yes

But most of all I shared my faith

Spurned or embraced

That is all I have that really matters

Even Faith-So-Small

My everything and All-In-All

My joys and my sorrows

To make a difference

THE Difference in hope for your tomorrows

A deposit with endless interest

Awaits you there

When and where

And if you will accept the prayer

Of faith

Of everything with you I gladly share.

Your Daughter, My Mother

A slightly melancholy look at a child’s love.
A celebration for, and of, his mother.
A prayer for one whose presence was irreplaceable.
A prayer for one whose absence is always felt.
Love You, Mom.
Me


Your Daughter, My Mother

Dear Heavenly “Grand”-Father,

Many years ago; more than twenty-two,
You made Mom a place to live
When she went away
To live with You.
Would You go there today,
Right up to her house,
And give her, for me,
A nice new dress,
A flowery skirt,
A pretty blouse?
Would You give her
Nice-looking sandals,
Or some beautiful shoes?

Oh, Grandpa, today I’m getting the blues….

You chose her to bear me,
I was blessed from the start.
Please tell her I miss her.
We are too far apart.
Would You put a sparkling
Crown on her head?
Or just hold her hand?
Would You give her, today,
A big Daddy-hug?
The warmest kind as only You can?
And tell her that her prayers for me
Were answered by You,
And are being still,
To this very day.
Tell her I’m finally free.
I’m on Your Son’s path,
I’m following Your Way.
Maybe not all that she hoped
And she prayed, not  just yet,
But much closer, Grand-Daddy,
Much closer this day….

Today, she just seems
Much too far away….

All the time and the distance,
That pries us apart.
‘Spite life’s trials and resistance,
She’s still in my heart.
So thank her for me.
‘Cause it’s heavy to bear,
That it’s Mothers Day here and she’s way up there.
But tell her I will soon see her, perhaps!
Until then, maybe give her a dance.
Will you give her a flower?
Lord, give her a laugh.
Tell her I can hardly wait.
I’ll see her at the garden gate –
The one on the west,
When I finally come.

Meantime, Grandpa God, please give her my best.
Your best too, ’cause we love her,
‘Cause You hear all my prayers,
‘Cause You know who they’re from,
And just because she’s Your daughter,
And because she’s my mom!


 

An Expanded Prayer To My Father In Heaven

 

My Father

 

Oh, my Father-God and my Lord, Who walks the vast halls of Heaven,
Where You live, and breathe, and reign sovereign
Over everything finite and eternal.
From where You speak,
From where You write Your Word,
From where You see all, know all, and do all,
From where You give Your unfathomable grace,
Your mercy, and forgiveness,
From where You open Your hands and pour out goodness,
And from where You sent Your Love Incarnate, Immanuel.

Your name is Holy.
Let me kneel humbly, respectfully,
In reverence to Your glorious name.

May Your kingdom, Your realm, be established,
May Your kingship be proclaimed,
May everything You desire to happen
Be done here on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.

I ask that You continue to provide all I need
In the form of wholesome food and water to nourish my body,
As well as The Living Bread, and The Living Water,
And understanding of Your Word, with personal revelation,
To nourish my soul.

I ask that You help me remember how You paid my debts
On the horrible cross of torture.
How You took my sin upon Yourself, Jesus,
How You gave Yourself in propitiating atonement, and in conciliation,
And appeasement, for my trespasses against You, Father-God.
Help me Lord to continue to learn to forgive others their debts against me,
Their trespasses, wrongs, crimes, and sins against me,
Just as You have so mercifully and graciously forgiven mine through Christ.

I ask You, Lord, to lead me away from the temptations of this world.
Help me keep your Word, Your principles, in obedience.
Lead me through the minefields, the snares, and the pitfalls,
For they are many, and my enemy shows me only the bait,
But hides the trap well.
Protect and deliver me from that devil, from that evil one, in Jesus name!

And finally, Almighty Father, I want to proclaim Your Kingdom.
It is the Kingdom of kingdoms, and You are the King of kings!

I proclaim that Your power is absolute.  It is the power that created
Beautiful Creation in its entire completeness.
It is the power to create human beings in Your image,
Human minds, souls, and hearts.
It is the awe-inspiring, miraculous power to change those hearts,
And save those souls.

And, I proclaim Your Glory, Lord.
How can I explain Your Glory?
It is too beautiful, too splendidly colorful, too exquisitely bright!
It blinds my eyes, baffles my mind, closes my mouth.
It is love unleashed, fervent, and intense.
It is Your inexplicable mercy, and grace, and kindness, and generosity.
It is as inexplicable as You, my God.
You’re glorious in Your Glory.
You ARE the Most High Lord,  Holiness Itself, Ancient of Days, The Great I AM.

Yes, Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,
For all time, and through unfathomable eternity.
You are my ABBA, my Heavenly Father-God to Whom I pray this prayer.
In Jesus’ most holy name.
Amen, and Amen.

 

A Writer’s Prayer

A Writer’s Prayer

“Lord, inspire me.”

Yes, that’s it.
Short prayers that speak volumes are best for me,
And He has never failed to answer in volumes.

Beyond My Understanding

 Beyond My Understanding

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.    Proverbs 3:5

Way beyond my understanding.
All I know is
It was a miracle that remains
And the miracle was a gift
Delivered to crumbling doorstep
Outside my sagging door locked tight
Nailed shut,
Yet breached,
It sat inside on rotting floor
Shining to be opened.
To be believed past unbelief
By miracle, not my doing.

Gift

It is salvation wrapped in grace undeserved.
The gift of faith to see hope once unseen.
A new heart unchained
Full with compassion
And repentance like a changing wind.
Heart to feel abundant love long unfelt
And mirror eyes to see myself as I am seen
Then others too, the same.
And mercy, charity, a call to pray,
A heart to sing, a heart to praise,
Hands to raise, a Book to read
All unwrapped and taken out,

When gift, upon gift, inside gift, unveiled
Then took away all fears and doubts
Healed my aching soul complete
And full and whole, then more, and more
A heart to tell of gifts and Glory,
Of His Great Love,

Holding out poor offerings,
And gratitude, a heart of thanks, 
I thank you JESUS, thank you LORD!
That You should care for me.
To rebuild my house,
To give me gifts,
To give me Yourself.

Oh, Miracles beyond my dull understanding,
Though nothing is beyond Yours,
I can but sit in rejoicing gratitude.
And no better gift
Nor more precious treasure
Could forever enter
Through my splintered door.

Breath Of Heaven – Mary’s Song

Breath Of Heaven
Mary’s Song

Not even one of us can fully understand nor appreciate Mary’s plight…….

Rest in Peace, Donna Summer.  We still have your amazing voice.

These are video clips from The Nativity Story,  upload thanks to Peperamico.

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I don't own, and have no claim on, these music videos. The following are simply links inside my website pointing back to the original locations of the videos. The names of the creators of these videos are cited wherever possible, and only "embedding-enabled" selections are used.

The Basic Christian Library

"Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. This is fundamentally what Christianity is all about.

"The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel. Another converted atheist presents His compelling case for believing in Jesus.

"Left To Tell" by Imaculee Ilibagiza. This profound work is her own extraordinary story of endurance, discovery of the Holy Spirit, grace, healing, and an astonishingly compelling account of the necessity for forgiveness.

Compelling Christian Fiction Reads

"The Circle" 4-book series by Ted Dekker.
A man is the bridge between two very different worlds. Sound familiar? Can he save both? This T.D. work is brilliant in my book.

"This Present Darkness" and "Piercing the Darkness" by Frank E. Peretti. Tales of spiritual warfare from a unique perspective. Stirred a small controversy, but sold millions. What are we Christians afraid of? Hey, it's fiction!

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